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MSW Program Application Process

‌The Application Cycle for Fall 2017 Admissions is now closed. Late applications will not be accepted.


There will be two application deadlines for the Fall 2017 Admissions cycle:

  • Priority Consideration Deadline: October 31, 2016 at 11:59 PM
  • Regular Deadline: January 23, 2017 at 11:59 PM

Please note that application processing takes 10-12 weeks from the deadline (not from the submission of the application) The Office of Social Work Student Services will stay in close contact with you throughout the entire process. If you have questions as you navigate through the application process, please contact the Office of Social Work Student Services via phone at 303-556-3474 or via email at

Applicants who submit their applications by the Priority Consideration Deadline will have their applications reviewed in advance by the MSW Admissions Committee. Those ranked in the very top of the pool of applicants will be granted early admission into the program and will get a head start on preparing to start the program, securing a field placement, and registering for classes. All other applicants who submit their application by the Priority Consideration Deadline will be rolled forward to the Regular Admissions timeline and receive their notification in the spring of 2017. Although only a select few will receive priority admissions, we encourage you to give it a try. Submit your materials early, then sit back and relax.

The Office of Social Work Student Services encourages you to read through all of the steps below to gain a thorough understanding of the application requirements and process before beginning Step 1.

Step One:

Create an account and complete the MSU Denver Graduate Application online.

This is your general application to graduate school at MSU Denver

Pay the $50 application fee via your MSU Denver Graduate Application account

Enter 3 References for your Letters of Recommendation via your MSU Denver Graduate Application account.

Your Letters of Recommendation will all be completed through this online system. You should not collect or submit any physical letters of recommendation. If you or any of your references have questions about this process, please email

Three letters of recommendation are required for application to the MSW Program. Recommenders should be professional and not be friends, family and/or personal therapists.  Professional recommenders include faculty and employment/volunteer supervisors. It is strongly recommended that at least one letter come from a faculty (when possible) and one letter from a supervisor. Professional colleagues may serve as adequate recommenders if need be, but use caution that the Admissions Committee highly values faculty and supervisor letters. Recommenders should be able to speak to your academic and/or professional abilities as well as comment on your potential to succeed in graduate school and the field of social work. When considering your recommenders, think about who can write a strong letter of recommendation for you. The quality of the letter contributes to your overall application score. 

Advanced Standing Applicants ONLY: Applicants must submit one letter of recommendation from their BSW Program. This could include a faculty advisor, field director, field instructor, field liaison, or program director. 

If applicants are absolutely unable to secure a third letter of recommendation, applicants should submit a memo that addresses the reasons for the missing document to Although your application will be considered complete, you will lose points in this area which may have an impact on your admissions decision.

Step Two:

Request Official Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended

Please note that transcripts need to be submitted directly to our office by the college or university or dropped off by a student still in a sealed envelope. Once transcripts have been opened by a student they are no longer considered official.

If you obtained your undergraduate degree from MSU Denver, please email with your 900# and we can pull your official transcripts for you.

All transcripts should be submitted by choosing one of the options below. Please do not submit any materials to the Office of Admissions at MSU Denver. Failure to submit using one of the options below may result in a delay in processing your application.

Request official transcripts be sent electronically to

Request official transcripts be sent by mail to:

Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Social Work
Attn: Office of Social Work Student Services
PO Box 173362 CB 70
Denver, CO 80217-3362

Drop off unopened official transcripts with the Department of Social Work, 1006 10th Street, Central Classroom Building Room 201, Denver, CO 80204-3802

If you are applying for the Regular Program, the Office of Social Work Student Services will complete an Undergraduate Prerequisite Review for you as transcripts are received. If any prerequisites have not been completed at that time, the Office of Social Work Student Services will notify you via email and provide you with completion options. These prerequisites do not need to be completed prior to applying to the program, but they must be complete prior to starting MSW coursework. That means you have until fall 2017 to complete any missing requirements.

MSW Regular Program applicants must have the following undergraduate course content areas completed prerequisites completed with a "C" or better before the Fall semester in which they start the program:

  • At least 12 units of course work in social science (sociology, psychology, economics, political science, anthropology etc.)
    • One course must be centrally organized around American government (not history)
    • One course must be centrally organized around contemporary multicultural or diversity issues
  • At least six units of course work in humanities (english, art, music, foreign language, philosophy etc.)
  • At least six units of course work in natural science (biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy etc.)
  • At least three units in basic statistics (not research)

The undergraduate course content areas listed above must be present on the student's official transcript, but should not be officially transferred to MSU Denver. Course equivalency will be determined by the Office of Social Work Student Services.

Step Three:

It is now time to start submitting additional application materials into Taskstream, an electronic profile where you will submit MSW Program specific application materials.

First, Request Application Keycode

Complete the survey linked above to receive an application keycode. This keycode is required to set up an account in Taskstream, the online service through which you will complete all of your application materials. You should receive an email confirmation with your keycode immediately after completing the survey. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please check your junk mail. If you do not receive an email within 24 hours, please contact

Step Four:

Create a Taskstream Account

After completing the Keycode Request, you will receive an email containing both the keycode and instructions for setting up an account in Taskstream. Those instructions can also be found below.

Fall 2017 MSW Application Taskstream Instructions

Taskstream is the online service through which you will upload all of your application materials

Step Five:

Complete and Upload Application Materials to Taskstream

Please note that you do not have to complete or upload all of your application materials at once. You can save and come back at a later time. Make sure to hit "submit" after completing each piece of the application. Once you have completed all application materials and clicked "submit" for each one, you're all set! There is no final submit button for the application.

The Professional History Form is built into Taskstream and will be completed there. 

This form is a place for you to document your educational, professional and/or volunteer history. The committee will assess both length/quantity of time and the type of experience to determine its relevance. You may choose to also upload your resume as a supplemental item, however your resume is not required

The Admissions Essay must be written and saved to the applicant's computer prior to being uploaded to Taskstream.

This submission requirement is an academic essay which helps the admissions committee to evaluate your capacity and readiness for graduate education and advanced social work practice. 

The admissions essay is a critical part of your admission application and will be the basis for evaluation of your writing and critical thinking skills and your capacity for self-awareness and personal growth. Be sure to include all required elements in an academic essay, using academic sources where appropriate (your ability to use and cite appropriate sources is an indicator of critical thinking) and follow APA style. While some personal information is required in the essay (e.g., your strengths), you should be judicious in the use of self-disclosure. You are not expected to disclose intimate details of your life; however, if you choose to do so, you should do so only briefly and make it clear how the issue has been resolved so that you may now succeed in the program and the profession. 

The maximum length of the entire essay is no more than five pages (12 pt. font, double spaced, title page does not count towards page limit). This is not short answer and should not be bullet-pointed; you should arrange the required information in a coherent, well-structured essay.

Your essay should incorporate the following information:

  1. the alignment of your personal philosophy and values with that of the profession;
  2. your understanding of diversity and social justice;
  3. your professional experiences;
  4. your career plans and focus in the field of social work versus another helping profession (i.e., why social work?);
  5. your strengths and weaknesses that are relevant to the social work profession;
  6. describe a time you were given critical feedback; what was your reaction?;
  7. how the MSU Denver MSW program is best suited for your educational and professional goals; and
  8. how you will manage the rigorous demands of graduate education.
The arrangement of this information is up to you; all must be addressed but the order in which you do so should be guided by your writing style. Overall, we are looking that you understand the profession, are committed to it, and are ready for graduate-level work.
Due to the large number of applications the MSW Program receives, we regrettably cannot provide feedback on your admissions essay prior to submission

The Case Study should only be completed by Advanced Standing Applicants, and must be written and saved to the applicant's computer prior to being uploaded to Taskstream.

The case study essay is an important part of your application because it reflects your ability to think critically about a situation and indicates your level of knowledge about social work.

Your essay must incorporate the following: 

  • not exceed 4 double-spaced pages, using 12 point Times New Roman font;
  • be written from the perspective of the program director;
  • provide the Admissions Committee a clear picture of your ability to construct a cohesive, academic essay that demonstrates your readiness for graduate-level work; 
  • synthesize your foundational social work knowledge and combine academic sources to support your rationale (references are expected and APA style should be followed); and,
  • provide the information requested below in a well formed essay (that is, incorporate the required information into an essay) and NOT in short answer form. 

Case Study Prompts:

  1. Describe your understanding of the current situation and how things are the way they are.
  2. How do you explain the problem, the dynamics, the strengths and challenges this family faces? Your explanation should be supported by scholarly sources.
  3. Describe your action plan to address the issues presented.
  4. What are the cultural considerations that one must consider while working with this family?
  5. How do the macro systems impact the way you serve this family? What changes would you like to see in these systems and how would you go about creating change?
  6. As a director/supervisor how would you support your employees in supporting William and his family?


William is a 14 year old bi-racial (Caucasian and Southeast Asian) boy raised in an upper middle-class home where both parents work. His parents are currently divorced, with William living with his Southeast Asian mother and seeing his Caucasian father regularly. The relationship between his mother and father is contentious however; because his father’s beliefs are more western including a reliance on traditional western medical treatments and being a member of a Methodist church, whereas his mother’s beliefs are more eastern including a reliance on traditional eastern medicine, her family and her Buddhist spiritual leader for guidance. William’s mother does not believe in western medical intervention except for physical injuries. 

A family court judge has ordered William into a day treatment program seeking compliance by both William and his mother with prescribed treatment protocols, including the use of prescription drugs to control behavior. In particular, William has a history of what appears to be Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). He has been suspended from school numerous times since kindergarten for being disruptive, defiant and angry in class. He has been in numerous fights with other students.

His mother feels her son is being treated unfairly and has begun to keep him at home to protect him and heal him with eastern remedies. William has reported that he is teased and picked on at school for being weird.  He states his teachers don’t like him and they are mean, “they tell me I cannot go to the bathroom,” and I need to be quiet and stop squirming.

William is small for his age, and his mother has read that medicines to control his aggression may inhibit growth in pubescent boys. She has him on a special diet, which includes drinking a cup of a traditional herbal medicine every hour, as prescribed by the Healer in her spiritual community, followed by 5 minutes of meditative walking.

She has reluctantly accepted that William has to go to day treatment because of the court order but wants to continue his herbal treatments and meditative walking instead of medications prescribed by the center psychiatrist. She states the behavioral interventions provided by the therapists in conjunction with her regimen and spiritual Healer will help him. She stated that if she is forced to give her son medications, she will flee the country with him and live in a place where the government cannot control them.

You are the director of a day treatment program in a community mental health center serving youth ages 12-18 with seriously persistent mental health, behavioral and developmental disorders. William has been placed in your program for therapy, medication management, and specialized schooling. As the director of the program, you have to follow the court order and follow agency policies, while ensuring appropriate and meaningful treatment is being provided to William and his family. 

The Petition for Advanced Standing is built into Taskstream and will be completed there.

The Advanced Standing Program is reserved for those who have earned a bachelors in social work from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Accredited University within the last 6 years. However, applicants with degrees older than 6 years, but less than 10, may petition the Program to review their eligibility for Advanced Standing. Eligibility is determined upon the applicant’s extent and level of current professional activity and development in the field of social work. Applicants whose bachelor in social work degree is older than 10 years must apply to the Regular Program.

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Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Social Work
PO Box 173362 CB 70
Denver, CO 80217-3362